Is Brown Rice Really Healthier Than White?

Are your brown rice sushi rolls really any healthier than traditional rolls made with white rice? You may think brown rice is king when it comes to health, but that’s actually debatable. Some claim that white rice is just as healthy as brown rice and can be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

We’ve been subjected to the misconception that all white foods are bad for us. However, nutrition is not so black and white. Cauliflower, for instance, is a highly nutritious white vegetable. White rice, while it has less fiber than brown rice, is an ancient food that can certainly be part of a healthy diet.

Yes, brown rice is a less processed rice. Theoretically, less processed foods are healthier, as the husk is what contains the bulk of the fiber and nutrients. (White rice is polished and has its outer husk removed.) This means that brown rice contains more of these good things, but it also means it contains more anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients like phytates and lectins can make it difficult for the body to absorb the minerals in food. Conversely, if you have digestive disorders, the simple starch in white rice may be easier for your body to absorb and process than the protecting husk of brown rice. And, realistically, in terms of nutrients, neither white nor brown rice are nutritionally dense foods to begin with. They are simply energy-giving starches. And let’s not forget, refrigeration of cooked white rice converts some of the starch into resistant starch—a prebiotic for your gut health.

Yes, if you were to consume just a bowl of white rice or a bowl of brown rice, the brown rice would spike blood sugar less and provide longer satiety. It would be a better choice. However, very rarely would you sit down and just eat a bowl of dry rice. When rice is paired with other nutritious, high-fiber foods like legumes, vegetables and protein, it slows down the absorption of the starch, making the fiber content of the rice irrelevant in the scheme of a meal.

Worried about diabetes? Research on white rice and its relationship to diabetes is not definitive. While some studies point to its high glycemic index as a trigger for the promotion of diabetes, Asian cultures have consumed white rice for centuries with relatively low diabetes rates. As with anything else, white rice should be consumed in balance and moderation. That’s what health is all about, after all.

Grain consumption isn’t right for every body. If you don’t handle eating grains well, you shouldn’t eat much rice at all—white or brown. However, if grains are a part of your diet, there is no need to be so skittish about white rice. It’s healthy and traditional to eat all forms of rice in moderation.

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250 comments

Greta H
Past Member about a year ago

Thank you

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Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers2 years ago

Thanks.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks

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Elizabeth Brawn
Elizabeth Brawn3 years ago

i like both

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Jo P.
Jo P3 years ago

Simply soak brown rice over night. Cheers.

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer3 years ago

I learned some more about rice. Thanks.

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Timothy Martin
Timothy Martin3 years ago

So ... Basically, most things are ok in moderation.

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Divergent revolution
divergent r3 years ago

The reason they make white rice is to extend shelf life by sacrificing nutrition

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